Curated for the Inquisitive Mind


Here’s How I Knew When It Was Time to Take a Break From Social Media

Key Takeaways

  • I found that social media was affecting my mental health.
  • Excessive scrolling meant that I felt drained after using social media.
  • I felt obligated to post rather than wanting to, which was a sign that I needed a break.

While social media is integral to our daily lives, excessive use does more harm than good. Taking a break is often beneficial, but recognizing when to do so can be challenging. Here’s how I realized I needed a break from social media.

1 It Started to Affect My Mental Health

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From comparing your looks to seeing how many possessions others have, watching others thrive can sometimes make you feel incredibly unworthy. Seeing someone else achieve milestones that I was yet to achieve led to unhealthy comparisons, which made me feel behind in life.

Sometimes, you open Instagram or Facebook for inspiration or relief from your hectic 9-to-5 job. Suddenly, you begin comparing your life to someone else’s, and that’s where it starts. While the loop of constant comparison may seem insignificant at the moment, the more it continues, the more it affects you mentally.

In situations when you feel like your mental health is dipping, I highly recommend stepping away from social media, even if it is just for a handful of days. I also recommend avoiding checking your social media accounts first thing in the morning.

a person looking at their smartphone in bed in the dark

We’ve all heard of doomscrolling. Despite having many school and work deadlines looming, I’d find myself constantly procrastinating and spending hours watching one Instagram Reel after the other. Before I knew it, half the day had already passed. Not only did all the unnecessary scrolling cause me to lose track of time, I’d also feel incredibly drained at the end of the day.

What was supposed to be a five-minute recharging Instagram or TikTok break, after a hectic study session, would eventually turn into an hour-long break that would suck up all my energy. I ended up losing energy that I could’ve put towards something that’d be an investment in my future self, like preparing for an important examination, going to the gym, or even taking a power nap.

Along with losing energy, I’d also feel immense guilt after realizing how much time doomscrolling cost me. The guilt I felt every single time was the primary reason I decided to push the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) deep within and step away from my social media accounts.

3 Posting Began to Feel Like a Chore

the instagram logo on a smartphone

Social media is meant to be a source of relaxation, not the complete opposite. The moment I felt obliged to post rather than wanting to post because I genuinely desired to, I realized I needed to step away from social media.

At times, whenever I logged onto Instagram and saw everyone else thriving but me, I felt compelled to post something just to feel like I was doing something too. Eventually, this pressure to fit in with my circle took away the pleasure I used to derive from posting anything online.

I noticed that I had slowly transitioned from posting for myself to posting for an audience. I noticed that the only thing that’d make posting online worth it was no longer my own inner satisfaction, but rather the feeling of waking up to a hundred new likes and more followers. Although my relationship with social media has usually been quite positive and constructive, the consistent pressure to post slowly turned that once-positive relationship into an extremely toxic one.

All of these factors combined made me realize that a social media detox had been long overdue. Since Instagram was the app I was addicted to the most, I decided to deactivate my Instagram account entirely to avoid the urge to log into it. I deleted other apps like TikTok and Facebook from my device.


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